[Marxism] Solidarity with Syrian people + crisis in the left

Joseph Green jgreen at communistvoice.org
Fri Sep 9 08:54:11 MDT 2016


Support the struggle of the Syrian people
to overthrow the Assad dictatorship!
(from Detroit Workers' Voice #121, Sept. 5, 2016,
distribution beginnng at the Labor Day march in Detroit)

The Syrian uprising against the dictator Bashar al-Assad has lasted more than 
five years. The people have had enough of dictatorship after living through 
half a century of the rule of the Ba'ath party and its state of emergency.

Peaceful demonstrations against the rule of Bashar al-Assad began in February 
2011; this was part of the Arab Spring. But the regime replied by shooting 
down demonstrators and imprisoning and torturing opponents. The result was a 
mass rebellion that swept across the country. Local Coordination Committees 
were formed in one town after another; thousands of soldiers deserted from 
the official Syrian army to form the Free Syrian Army; militias also formed 
to fight against the regime. Thus the Civil War began. It has lasted year 
after year, while the regime dropped thousands of barrel bombs on civilians, 
devastated town and after town, systematically bombed hospitals and killed 
medical personnel, and gave the people the ultimatum to "starve or kneel".

The civil war would have been over long ago, and Assad would have fallen from 
power, but one outside power after another has intervened. Some want to prop 
up the Assad regime at all costs; others wouldn't mind seeing Assad fall, but 
want the outside powers, not the Syrian people, to determine the nature of 
the next government. The theocratic regime of Iran has financed Assad's war 
and sent troops to kill the rebels. Russia provided Assad with heavy weapons 
to be used against cities, sent military advisors, and then began massive 
bombing last year. The murderous fundamentalists of ISIS have sought to carve 
out territory in Syria and establish their own hell on earth. The US 
government blocked the rebels from getting the weapons needed to fight the 
regime's tanks and aircraft. And so on.

But with incredible heroism, the Syrian people have persisted in struggle 
despite suffering immense casualties. Over 400,000 people, almost 2% of the 
pre-war population, have been killed. Many more have been wounded or 
imprisoned. Half the population has had to leave their homes, either being 
displaced in Syria or becoming refugees abroad. And yet the struggle 
continues.

The crisis of the American left
---------------------------------------

Workers around the world naturally sympathize with struggles for democracy. 
So their impulse was to welcome the uprising against the brutal Ba'ath 
regime. But they have been held back by the fact that many left-wing 
organizations have opposed the struggle against Assad. The support for the 
dictator Assad by such groups as the Workers World Party or the United 
National Anti-war Coalition shows that something is really, really wrong with 
these groups. The left-wing is supposed to support democratic rghts, not 
oppose them. Yet these groups find excuses for Assad or even organize trips 
to visit Assad. In the name of opposing war, these groups give aid and 
comfort to one of the worst wars of the present-day: the Syrian government's 
war on its own people. In the name of opposing intervention, these groups 
approve those interventions that benefit the Assad regime.

According to the supporters of Assad, the Syrian uprising is a U.S.-organized 
plot for "regime change". But they cannot explain why in two years of U.S. 
bombing in Syria, the U.S. and allies have only targeted ISIS, and never the 
regime and its foreign props. They can't explain why the U.S. "boots on the 
ground" in Syria are not there to help the rebels overthrow the Assadist 
dictatorship, but only to assist some groups in the fight against ISIS. They 
can't explain why the U.S. has made Syrians sign contracts saying they would 
NOT fight Assad, only ISIS, before providing any assistance. And these 
fraudulent anti-imperialists cannot explain why the U.S. and Russia 
coordinate their imperialist air wars, with the U.S. mostly bombing ISIS, and 
with Russia bombing the hell out of the rebel-controlled areas, and neither 
side interfering with Assad. 

Support the Syrian people!
---------------------------------------

Let's oppose the lies of the apologists for Assad. Let's listen to the voices 
of the Syrian democrats who have suffered incredible hardship. Accounts by 
them, such as the book _Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War_ by 
Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami, tell the story of the uprising 
against Assad. Let's understand how to really oppose imperialism in the 
Middle East. See articles on the nature of imperialism and the democratic 
struggle at http://www dot communistvoice dot org/00ArabSpring dot html and 
http://www dot communistvoice dot org/00Stages dot html.

Let's help improve the left-wing movement in the US by supporting the Syrian 
struggle. If we really want to fight US imperialism, we need to have 
solidarity with peoples who are rising in struggle. Our allies are the 
working people who are fighting against dictators, not organizations who back 
dictators like Assad.

The struggle against Assad is only one step in the struggle for freedom and a 
decent life. The fall of his regime won't bring utopia, but it will pave the 
way for class struggle in Syria and it will encourage people throughout the 
Middle East, and the world. It will pave the way for the peoples of Syria and 
elsewhere to take their fate into their own hands, rather than seeing their 
countries ruled by the small cliques of crony capitalists who benefit from 
dictatorship.

Support the Syrian people against the Assad regime, ISIS, Russian and Iranian 
imperialist attacks, and U.S. imperialist manipulation! Let the Syrian 
people, and not a conference of outside powers, determine the Syrian 
government! <>

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